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Reading Room: Australia’s American Alliance


There is no doubt that the appearance of the latest edited volume by Peter J. Dean, Stephan Frühling and Brendan Taylor, Australia’s American Alliance, is a timely contribution. But how timely? The surprise election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has raised fresh questions on the future direction of the alliance.

As I began to read Australia’s American Alliance, the question on the forefront of my mind was how well would a book written before Trump’s unanticipated election win hold up?

Like all edited volumes, there is significant variation between the different chapters. Some hold up well. In particular the chapters by Stephan Frühling and AIIA National President Kim Beazley are both valuable contributions of lasting importance.

In other instances, however, I think the authors might have liked to revise their chapters slightly in light of Trump’s victory. Some of the discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for instance, already read little like an interesting artifact of diplomatic history.

Yet, overall, I think Australia’s American Alliance still reads well in the Trump era and will continue to be a significant resource on the US-Australian alliance.

The book also works well as a companion to the others that have already been published by Melbourne University Press’s Defence Studies Series. It complements the editors’ previous book, Australia’s Defence: Towards a New Era?, which addressed the US-Australian alliance but did not go into nearly as much detailed discussion and analysis.

Longer form monographs on Australia’s defence policy and strategy have been few and far between over the past few decades and this series is filling a pressing need within Australian strategic scholarship. The editors should be complimented on producing such a timely and valuable book.

Peter J. Dean, Stephan Frühling and Brendan Taylor, (eds.), Australia’s American Alliance, Melbourne University Press, 2016

Dr Adam Lockyer is a senior lecturer in security studies at Macquarie University. He held the 2015 Fulbright Scholarship in US-Australian Alliance Studies at Georgetown University and spent four years serving in the Australian Army.

Published July 1, 2017

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